Defensive play drives Marauders
LANCASTER — Most plays register on film. A few register on seismographs.
Even fewer still, you can feel, as much as hear or see.
The latter was how Antelope Valley College started its 21- 0 domination of Citrus Saturday.
Owls quarterback Austin Zavala swung a pass into the flat for Kasmir Dina.
It was a bubble screen on which another receiver was supposed to block and create an escape lane.
Marauders safety Jaylin Cochran not only burst the bubble, he blew up Dina in a hit that reverberated about Brent Carder Marauder Stadium.
“We wanted to let them know,” Cochran said, “that the Marauder defense came to play today.”
After a 21-0 shutout of once-unbeaten Citrus, the Maroon and Gray have allowed one touchdown in their last six quarters.
Overcoming early season ups and downs, AVC (3-1, 6-3) has now won three straight.
They’ve positioned themselves to earn a bowl berth with a win at Victor Valley next Saturday.
AVC coach Perry
Jehlicka says something clicked at halftime of a narrow loss to San Bernardino Valley.
In the 14 quarters since, the Marauders have outscored their opponents 116-40, and, essentially, compiled a record of 3.5-. 5.
“We do feel like a different team now than in the first half of that San Bernardino game,” said safety Kijante Figures, who had the unique parlay of a sack and a pick-six Saturday. “Everyone is playing his assignment on every defense that Coach (Ed) Eaton (the AVC defensive coordinator) calls.
“The defense works exactly the way it’s supposed to. No one is out of position and we’re all helping each other become better football players.”
Figures is a freshman from Charleston, West Va., one of Jehlicka’s stops along the way to Lancaster.
Cochran has come to the west coast of the USA from the west coast of Florida, in Fort Myers, the ancestral homeland of Deion Sanders.
“When they were recruiting me here, Cochran said, “I heard stories of how much talent there was here. But they just couldn’t put things together as a team.
“But that’s exactly what we’ve been doing in these last four games. We’re not playing as individuals, we’re playing as a team. I think it makes us all better players individually as well.”
When those little-things- adding- up- tolosses continued early in the season, Jehlicka said he wasn’t worried.
His team had to much character.
“Everybody bought into Coach’s ‘What’s Next?’ theme,” Figures said. “Whether you just made a good play or a bad play didn’t matter as much as the next play. We’ve become a lot more consistent team.”
What’s next is Victor Valley.
It’s the last regular season American Mountain Division game.
But it’s not the last What’s Next.
TOUGH YARDS AVC running back Jaylen O’Neil carries the ball against the Citrus defense on Saturday at Marauder Stadium.